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Mr. Mellor : The provision of appropriate accommodation for children in care is the statutory responsibility of local authorities. I understand that Cheshire county council has been unable to find a secure vacancy in a community home for the boy referred to, although it continues to make urgent inquiries. There are currently 294 approved secure places provided by local authorities in England, to which all local authorities have access. Local authorities in the north-west provide 65 of these places.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Imports of ivory are controlled under EC Regulation 3626/82 which implements CITES in the Community. The European Commission has suggested measures to encourage African states to comply with the existing strict controls and to develop management programmes. These proposals were welcomed by the Council of Ministers on 2 March.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list (i) all the bodies concerned with research on pollution in water and (ii) the research projects funded or sponsored by Her Majesty's Government.
Mr. Howard : A list of the bodies known to the Department to be concerned with research on pollution in water has been placed in the Library of each House together with a list of research projects that the Department is funding or sponsoring, excluding research on radioactive waste disposal and drinking water quality. I do not have the information on research projects for other Government Departments.
Mr. Hanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the current annual total of sponsorship of sports by tobacco companies ; if he will list these individually and in relation to other commercial sponsorship ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moynihan : The total expenditure on sports sponsorship by tobacco companies in 1987-88, the latest year for which figures are available, was £5,911,000. No information is held centrally on expenditure by individual companies. The Sports Council estimates that in 1987 sports sponsorship by non-tobacco companies was some £158 million.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make it his policy to write off the loan debt of the present water authorities in England prior to implementation of the Water Bill.
Sir David Price : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the present levels of cleanliness of Southampton Water and the Solent, respectively ; and how those levels match up to European Economic Community standards.
Mr. Howard : The relevant standards are those set in Directive 79/923/EEC, on the quality of water for shellfish, and in Directive 76/160/EEC on the quality of bathing water. There are five designated shellfish waters in Southampton Water and the Solent. All meet the directive's standards.
I announced on 21 February 1989 at column 572 the results of the 1988 survey of bathing water in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The results for identified bathing waters in the Southampton Water and Solent area are :
|Result ------------------------------ Bracklesham Bay |Pass West Wittering |Pass West of Eastoke |Pass West Hayling |Pass Eastney |Fail Southsea |Fail Stokes Bay |Pass Lee-on-Solent |Pass Calshot |Fail Lepe |Pass Highcliffe |Pass Compton Bay |Pass Totland Bay |Pass Colwell Bay |Fail Gurnard |Fail Cowes |Fail Ryde |Fail Seagrove |Fail St. Helens |Fail Bembridge |Fail
The Southern water authority plans to spend about £30 million over the next few years on major schemes to improve bathing waters in this area.
Sir David Price : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the present level of cleanliness of the principal rivers in Hampshire ; and to what extent they meet European Economic Community standards.
Mr. Howard : The principal rivers in Hampshire are classified as good quality (class 1A or 1B) for virtually all their length. These are the highest quality classifications, indicating waters which are suitable for potable supply, generally support game fisheries and have high amenity value.
Significant stretches of these rivers and their main tributaries, are designated under EEC Directive 78/659/EEC on the quality of freshwater needed to support fish life. All are reported to be meeting the directive's standards.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the disposal of operational land surplus to requirements other than by public tender by the regional water authorities, the Central Electricity Generating Board, and the British Railways Board, respectively ; and in what circumstances each of these categories of body may dispose of such land without the publication of either the purchase price or name of the purchaser ;
(2) what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government concerning the publication of the names or organisations or individuals who are successful in public tenders for land, goods, or premises being sold by central Government, local Government, and statutory bodies, respectively.
Mr. Chope : All public bodies are expected to offer surplus land and property for sale as soon as practicable. The method of sale may differ between Departments, local authorities and other bodies, depending on the nature of the asset to be sold, any relevant legal requirements, the application of the Crichel Down rules, the need to obtain the best price reasonably obtainable and other market and commercial factors.
It is for individual public bodies to decide what information to make available about individual land
Column 240transactions, having regard to any legal requirements, and to any constraints which may apply by reason of commercial confidentiality or security.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those tariff increases for water supply from 1 April so far announced by the statutory water companies ; and if he will make a statement about any action proposed by him in respect of these increases.
Mr. Ridley : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Water and Planning on 14 March to my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South-West (Mr. Madel).
Mr. Chope : Energy efficiency is given a high priority by the PSA on sound environmental grounds and because it saves public expenditure. PSA, working in close co-operation with other Government Departments, promotes energy-saving measures for most Government buildings. Through its network of energy conservation officers the agency is able to provide Departments with a complete energy management service.
Since 1972 average savings of over 25 per cent.--over £900 million at current prices--have been achieved. Current savings are over 5 per cent. per annum in real terms on the Government's total energy bill (1987-88) of over £250 million.
Mr. Trippier : Regulations have today been laid before Parliament to implement the tenants' choice scheme on 5 April. Tenants who wish to know more about choosing a new landlord are being invited, by means of advertisements in several national newspapers, to contact the Housing Corporation for an explanatory booklet about the scheme, and for any further advice, information or assistance they may need.
Mr. Howard : The Government welcome the oppor-tunity which privatisation of the water industry will bring for employees of the new water plcs to take a stake in the future of their companies. There will therefore be special share offer arrangements, which will include : free shares, further free shares to match those bought by employees, and possibly shares at a discount. Plc employees will also be given priority in the allocation of shares in the offer. The exact details of the benefits to be made available in this way will be decided nearer the time. There will be
Column 241special arrangements for employees of the water authorities who move to the new plcs and will not therefore apply to employees of the water authorities who move to the National Rivers Authority, the body which will be set up to exercise regulatory functions in relation to the water industry.
Mr. Ridley : I am happy today to announce our decision that the National Rivers Authority should have borrowing powers in relation to its flood defence functions. This decision recognises the importance which is widely attached to the availability of borrowing powers to cope with the need for unexpected expenditure. It meets this concern and demonstrates the Government's firm commitment to ensure that the NRA has all the powers it needs to operate effectively.
Accordingly, we have today tabled an amendment to the Water Bill that will enable the NRA to undertake not only temporary borrowing, for which the Bill already provides, but long-term borrowing for its flood defence functions. We do not expect that these powers will need to be used very often, and their use will be restricted to situations where the NRA is faced with expenditure for which it had been impossible to plan.
With the addition of these powers the National Rivers Authority's Flood defence committees will have all the powers it needs to continue its vital work as effectively as it has in the past.
Sir Anthony Meyer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will hold consultations with local authorities on measures which might be taken to reduce the danger to swimmers from power boats travelling close inshore off bathing beaches ; (2) if he will introduce regulations to provide for the marking of areas off bathing beaches where power boats are prohibited.
Local authorities already have powers to make byelaws to make provision for the safety of the public in these circumstances ; and I consider that they are best placed to determine what measures should be taken.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which water abstraction plants for domestic use in the Yorkshire and Severn Trent regions are complying with EEC limits on the nitrate levels in water supply ; which are not ; and on what dates each of the plants which are not complying will comply with the limits.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 13 March 1989] : The EC drinking water directive nitrate standard applies to water as supplied to the consumer, not to water as it leaves the abstraction plant as this takes no account of subsequent blending with other water. The standard is therefore, measured in relation to water supply areas rather than abstraction plants.
Column 242All water supply areas in Yorkshire water authority comply with the EC directive nitrate standard. In the Severn- Trent water authority area the following supplies do not comply but should do so by the date shown.
|Date --------------------------------------------------------------------- Parts of Leamington, Kenilworth, Warwick and Stratford district councils |1989 Parts of Stourbridge (supply used only at times of peak demand) |end 1989 Malvern Hills/Wyre Forest district council area |1989 Parts of Wrekin DC area |1989 Parts of Lichfield DC area, Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham Metropolitan) area, North Warwickshire and Walsall metropolitan area<1> |1993-94 Parts of Worksop and Mansfield Woodhouse (Bassetlaw and Mansfield DC areas) |1991 Parts of South Shropshire DC area |1990 Parts of Newark district council area |1989 <1> These supplies are made by the South Staffordshire waterworks company.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each water authority area in England the number of sewage treatment works which discharge effluent below the required standard.
Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 13 March 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave to the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) on 20 December 1988 at column 194.
The figures for 1988 are not yet available, but indications are that they will show a further improvement.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the number of civil servants in his Department whose main task is work related wholly or mainly to the European Economic Community ; and what is the gross annual cost of travel and accommodation to and from Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg in connection with this work.
Mr. Ridley At present, some 60 officials in my Department spend more than half of their time on work related to the European Community. Information about travel and accommodation costs relating to official visits to Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg is not kept centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what classes of buildings are excluded as permissible simulated targets in the instructions to pilots concerning the types of ground features which can be selected during low-level training flights.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy of 1 July 1988, Official Report , column 400, if he will now declasify the instructions to Royal Air Force station commanders covering the investigation of complaints about low flying from members of the public.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what maximum permitted distance between initial point and simulated target is laid down in the regulations governing the conduct of low-level attack training sorties.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures pilots are instructed to take to alleviate noise disturbance when low flying at up to 550 knots in the run-up to simulated targets.
Mr. Neubert : Pilots engaged in low-flying training are instructed to keep any period of flight above the normal maximum cruising speeds to the minimum consistent with essential training requirements.
14-18 March, Amble
25-28 April, Quedgeley and Hardwicke
26-27 April, Braunston
7 June, Farndon
14-16 June, Crediton
21-23 June, Kidwelly
22 June, Tumble
27-29 June, Stonehouse
28-30 June, Keswick
12 July, Hexham
12 July, Holme on Spalding Moor
18-21 July, Builth Wells
26-27 July, Machynlleth
23-25 August, Morpeth
6-8 September, Halesworth
11-13 October, Melrose
18-20 October, Milford Haven
Late October/early November, Redburn
15-17 November, Newark/Farndon
6-9 February, Upper Chute
21-22 February, Market Bosworth
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the occasions since 1979 when Royal Air Force police covert monitoring of low flying has detected breaches of low-flying regulations.
Mr. Neubert : The detailed information requested is not readily available and could not be obtained without disproportionate effort. Surveys do however indicate that pilots have a healthy respect for the low- flying regulations.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the aircraft handling reasons for United States Air Force F111 aircraft being permitted to fly at 480 knots in the low-flying system, as stated in his reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy of 16 November 1987, Official Report, column 451.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those areas of the United Kingdom which are cleared for use by military helicopters practising flying underneath high voltage power lines.
Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what action is taken in his Department to guard against intrusive information technology practices by unauthorised internal or external electronic intruders ;
(2) what steps he has taken to ensure that information transferred within and without his Department via computer is safe from internal or external interference ;
(3) what steps his Department has undertaken to guard against the unauthorised access of sensitive defence information files stored on computer.